As people try to understand the decision of the George Zimmerman case and the implications his acquittal will have on the black community; race relations; and civil rights in the U.S., people organized to show support to the family; dissent towards the justice system; and/or a move towards a resolution.
In Newark, New Jersey, at 2pm dissidents organized in the intersection of Broad and Market and marched up and down the six lane main street of Newark’s Business District baracading and shutting down the street to vehicular traffic. Law enforcement officers assisted in blocking traffic and escorting marchers as they proceeded down the block. People chanted follow the call and response of a few leaders representing different social organizations (i.e. People’s Organization for Progress). People were encouraged to take action by joining any of these organizations. Speakers highlighted different incidences of racial prejudice and injustice (i.e. The Jenna Six, Central Park Five, etc); expressed disapproval of Cory Booker and his administration; and introduced and showed support of new 2014 mayoral candidate Ras Baraka.
In Union Square Park, Manhattan, New York, rallyers congregated amidst the normal activities of the park. Clusters of people percolated across the area each attending to their own causes or expressing their position in various ways. People sitting on blankets typing on Macbooks; chess tournaments; rap cyphers; seemed unbothered by the loud speakers of the rally. Police officers appeared individually on the peripheries observing activities, but not using any authority in the slightest.
While most of the handmade signage reflected feelings of injustice regarding the black male body in American society, the printed and distributed signs seemed to be more specific to Trayvon Martin’s incident as another example of civil injustice. In both cases, civil injustice in the black community continues to affirm the public’s attitude towards the justice system in the United States. News and media coverage of the aftermath of the case (or lack thereof) will reveal whether the public will either be forced to accept the decision of the justice system or if these voices will facilitate action in the justice system.